Restaurants and Food Allergy Accommodations
"I think a lot of restaurants feel it’s an inconvenience to accommodate people with food allergies. But once they get their mindset off the inconvenience part, it's very easy to accommodate...It's about hospitality...We're chefs...We're talented...We have things in our kitchens..."
— Chef Nick Liu at DaiLo
Kortney Kwong Hing, co-founder of the award winning online magazine, The Zestfull, and co-host of The Itch Podcast, recently moderated a panel tackling the BIG question, "Should restaurants cater to people with food allergies?"
Restaurants have many working parts and are not always able to ensure a safe space for food preparation. Is it realistic for food allergy diners to expect service?
The panel included:
Each panelist brought valuable perspectives to the discussion, from experienced restaurateur, to restaurant employee, to food allergic diner, to food allergy parent, to advocate, to problem solving entrepreneur.
The panel tackled wide ranging questions like:
When is it appropriate to say yes and no to a customer with food allergies?
What is the customer's responsibility for dining out, specifically accurate communication of dietary restrictions and needs?
As an allergy parent how would you respond if a restaurant could not safely accommodate your child? Would you still want them to try?
Is it realistic to consider that restaurants should go through an accredited allergy training/food training program to at least cover the basics, cross contact, allergy vs intolerance, etc.? Why has this not happened yet?
How can the food allergy community work with restaurants to help start a positive dialogue instead of a full stop to welcoming food allergy patrons?
Have dietary choices hindered food allergy communication within the restaurant ecosystem?
How has the pandemic changed things for diners and how has it/will it affect patrons who have food allergies?
Give this thought provoking discussion a listen!
Thank you to Kortney Kwong Hing, panel creator and moderator, for this content and for use of the images. Allergy Force was honored to participate in this 'Zestfull' discussion!